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Canada

    November 03, 2017

    PUBLIC STATEMENT

    3 November 2017

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed in yesterday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision dismissing an appeal by the Ktunaxa Nation in British Columbia, who sought to protect their religious practices and beliefs.

    “We are surprised by the majority of the Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of religious freedom,” said Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “As we argued in our submission to the Court, Amnesty International believes it would be discriminatory if the protection of religious freedoms in Canada failed to meaningfully protect spaces in nature that are sacred according to Indigenous peoples’ spiritual beliefs and customs.”

    November 02, 2017

    The Site C dam is a project that should never have been approved. As the British Columbia Utilities Commission has now concluded after a long overdue review of the cost and purpose of this project, completing Site C offers little or no economic benefit compared to less destructive alternatives and could ultimately cost much more and carry greater financial and legal risks. Completing the construction is, quite simply, bad public policy.

    More than that, however, the Site C dam represents a profound betrayal of the solemn commitments undertaken when Canada entered into Treaty 8, when it adopted its Constitution, and when it endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    November 01, 2017

    Ottawa, November 1, 2017 – The interim report released today by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls makes recommendations for immediate action, many of which were set out in previous reports.

    “Minister of Indigenous-Crown Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett has said repeatedly that the federal government wouldn’t wait for the Inquiry’s final report before addressing well-known gaps in protections and support for Indigenous women and girls,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. “The government must keep this promise. It is crucial that the government’s response to the Interim report clearly sets out what the government is committed to do and when.”

    The interim report calls on the federal government to:

    October 31, 2017

    As Horgan Government Weighs Fate of the Megaproject, Treaty 8 Indigenous First Nations, Human Rights and Environmental Groups Bring a Message That Canadians and the World Expect BC to Keep Its Promise to Uphold Indigenous Rights

    At 1:00 p.m. on November 2nd, representatives from Treaty 8 First Nations, human rights and environmental groups will present a literal “boat load” of petitions, postcards and solidarity messages urging the Provincial Government to protect the Peace River Valley. Across the country, more than 120,000 people have called for a halt to construction of the Site C dam. Their voices are joined by tens of thousands of solidarity messages from around the world.

    The megaproject would flood more 100 km stretch of the Peace River Valley and its tributaries. If construction proceeds, Treaty 8 First Nations would lose hunting grounds, burial sites and other areas vitally significant to their culture, heritage and sustenance.

    October 27, 2017

    One of the first acts of the recently elected provincial government of British Columbia was to order an independent review of the economic case for and against the massive Site C hydro-electric project. After releasing an interim report in September, the BC Utilities Commission held a series of public meetings across the province. The final report is due November 1 after which the decision on the fate of the project - and the Peace River Valley - will rest with the provincial government.

    Gary Ockenden, the Vice President of Amnesty International Canada shared this note from a hearing that he attended:

    The Chair and three Commissioners of the BC Utilities Commission came to Nelson, BC on September 26th and held a public hearing on the Site C project. I was fortunate enough to get a five minute slot to present to them as a BC ratepayer.

    October 27, 2017
    Letters to a Prisoner (Owlkids 2017) is a wordless children’s book inspired by the Write for Rights campaign - created by Montreal author Jacques Goldstyn. The book illustrates the power of hope and the written word. The Youth and Activism Team has been actively collaborating in partnership with Owlkids Books to make this book available to the Amnesty Canada community.

    Letters to a Prisoner will provide a fun and engaging way for young people (ages 6 and up) to participate with and promote human rights and the Write for Rights campaign. 

    October 23, 2017

    Over 40 Supporters, including Organizations, Academics and Politicians, Formally Call for Hon. Minister Hussen’s Reconsideration

    October 23, 2017, OTTAWA—Over 40 prominent civil society organizations, elected officials, university professors and professionals have sent letters in support of human rights activist Chelsea Manning, who was recently turned away at the Canadian border. The letters are united in their call to reverse the government’s decision to bar Ms. Manning from Canada, and were submitted by her legal counsel as part of a formal request for reconsideration to the Hon. Minister Ahmed Hussen on Friday morning.

    Chelsea Manning is an internationally recognized human rights activist and whistleblower. She has received numerous awards for her work as a prominent advocate for civil liberties, government transparency, LGBTQ rights, and prisoners’ rights.

    October 14, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada (francophone branch)

    Centre for Sustainable Development

    Montreal, 14 October 2017

     

    We deeply regret that a major accident has occurred this morning before the launch of an activity scheduled at the Centre for Sustainable Development.

    A member of the team from Decalade, the company in charge of the activity, has lost his life.

    Our thoughts are with his family, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.

    A police investigation is underway. We are committed to providing all necessary support to our colleagues and other people who were present.

    Amnesty International Canada (francophone branch)

    Centre for Sustainable Development

    October 13, 2017

    Groups Warn Bill c-47 IS INCOMPLETE AND DOES NOT COVER THE Majority of CanadIAN Arms ExportS

    Canada’s welcome commitment to accede to the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) risks being fundamentally undermined by troubling shortcomings in the federal government’s proposed approach to implementation, warns a group of ten human rights, arms control and disarmament organizations in a briefing paper submitted to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    October 13, 2017

    HUMAN RIGHTS AND ARMS CONTROL GROUPS TO CALL FOR CHANGES TO BILL C-47

    Ottawa – On October 16th, a group of human rights, arms control and disarmament groups will host a press conference on Parliament Hill calling on the government to make changes to Bill C-47, legislation tabled by the government in May 2017 in order to prepare Canada for accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). In its current form, Bill C-47 would fall significantly short of Canada’s ATT treaty obligations towards arms exports. We have therefore submitted to the government a policy paper, to be released publicly at the press conference, outlining 10 key areas where Canada’s proposed approach to ATT accession raises serious concerns. The organizations endorsing the policy paper include Amnesty International Canada (English Branch), Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, Project Ploughshares, Oxfam-Canada, Oxfam-Québec, the Rideau Institute, Group of 78, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, World Federalist Movement-Canada and the Human Rights and Research Education Centre at the University of Ottawa.

    October 11, 2017

    “Our economy walks on the land and swims in the waters”

    In a one-room, circular building, modelled on a traditional Secwepemc winter pit house, water defender Jacinda Mack stands before the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and describes the effects of colonialism on her people, the Secwepemc of British Columbia. The consequences of more than 150 years of government assault on Indigenous identity and self-determination are personally exhausting, she says. However, her love of her people and the waters of her territory motivate her to keep fighting for justice.

    October 11, 2017
    Alex Neve (left), Alex Xavier (centre), and Jackie Hansen (right) in Parliament when Bill C-16 on gender identity was tabled in June 2016.

    In Conversation with Amnesty International’s LGBTI Rights Coordinator Alexander Xavier

    Ottawa-based Alexander Xavier is one of Amnesty International Canada’s two LGBTI Coordinators. He has served on Amnesty’s board of directors, and has been an Amnesty supporter since he was in high school. In October 2017, we had a chat with Alexander about his long history with Amnesty and what motivates him to continue so fervantly advocating for LGBTI rights in Canada and around the world.

    Alex, how did you first get involved with Amnesty?

    In high school I became acquainted with Amnesty as I learned about the death penalty. I joined an Amnesty student group, later attended Amnesty’s Human Rights College, and got involved with Amnesty’s student and youth program.

    October 10, 2017

    Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you on behalf of the 400,000 supporters of Amnesty International across Canada to share a number of urgent recommendations about pressing human rights concerns that we hope you will raise during the meetings you will have with Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto during your visits to Washington and Mexico City next week.  We lay out bilateral, trilateral and global concerns and recommendations in the attached Annex.  We urge you to recognize that human rights considerations must figure prominently in your meetings with both Presidents and that concrete human rights commitments and action are central to the various issues you will be discussing.  We urge you to:

    October 05, 2017

    Joint Submission to UN by HR Groups Says Treatment of Children and Persons with Mental Health Conditions Violates International Obligations

    Toronto, October 5, 2017 — A United Nations review of Canada’s human rights record should urge Canada to make concrete commitments to meaningfully address its treatment of vulnerable persons in immigration detention, the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law (IHRP) said today.

    The IHRP, in conjunction with international and national human rights organizations — including Amnesty International, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Justice for Children and Youth — delivered a joint submission to the UN today stating that immigration detainees, particularly children and non-citizens with mental health conditions, continue to suffer significant human rights violations.

    October 02, 2017
    Chief Roland Willson with solidarity messages from around the world

    Within weeks, the new provincial government in British Columbia will make a decision whether or not the Peace River Valley will be protected from destruction by the Site C dam.

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